Why Recruiters Ghost Candidates and How To Come Back From It

So you’ve applied for a job, gone through the recruitment process, nailed the interview and…CRICKETS. If this sounds like something that has recently happened, you may have been ghosted.  If so, rest assured, you are not alone! This is some of my client’s biggest pet peeves, however with a little pep talk I am usually able to get them to feel better or at least feel neutral about the situation.  And I want to do the same for you.  Do not let this get the best of you during your job search!

There are a number of reasons why recruiters may ghost you and I’m going to share them with you in today’s blog. By no means does this justify the situation, however by shedding some light on the topic, my hope is that this will help you be more at ease during if and when this does happen to you.

Here are some of the reasons why you may have not heard back:

1. Reasons Beyond The Recruiter’s Control

There are a number of reasons that occur behind the scenes which can be totally out of the recruiters control. Perhaps the role is now put on hold, or there are budget cuts. Another example would be if the role is now impacted by restructuring efforts or an internal hire occurred resulting in some reshuffling.  Point is the recruiter may not have any influence on these decisions and filling that job is no longer a priority or on the table at all. 

2. You May Not Fit Their Ideal Candidate Mould

The role you thought you applied to may be different then what they are looking for.  Sometimes it’s hard to get into the heads of the hiring team, as often times they aren’t even aligned with what they’re looking for!  So, although you may have thought you were a perfect fit, you may not be and that is OKAY. A lot of the times recruiters have their own set criteria for what makes an applicant more or less appealing and that’s something totally out of your control. Your perfect-for-you-job is out there, trust me! The best thing to do in this situation is to dust it off and continue to apply to jobs that fit your background.

3. The Recruiter Has Changed Jobs Or Is On Vacation

Maybe they haven’t ghosted you and are just on vacation or have recently changed jobs. If they have changed jobs, sometimes the person filling their position will follow up but may also be swamped with the workload or perhaps this unfortunately got lost in the shuffle. If after some time you still hear crickets, you should try your best to move on and if they do reappear, BONUS.

4. They Are Just Not On Top Of Things

They could just be super overwhelmed and closing the loop with you may have slipped under the radar. Not every recruiter is going to be diligent about the role for which they are reviewing applicants for and may procrastinate. Still, this isn’t an excuse as there are ATS’s that allow for automatic decline responses, but they are human after all and it can be hard to keep up with all the moving parts. Be patient, hopefully they will get around to it once they get organized again!

5. They Don’t Want To Be The Bearer Of Bad News 

We’ve all been in a confrontational situation where you have to relay bad news to someone and it’s uncomfortable. Maybe they decided to go with a different candidate, or they made the decision to hire internally and don’t want to be put into an awkward situation. Don’t take this to heart, if you’ve held your composure in a professional manner a lot of the times these recruiters will hold onto your contact information for future opportunities. If they’ve already vetted you, they are more likely going to reach out to you in the future over finding someone brand new. 

So now are you thinking: Okay “thanks for sharing, but now how do I mentally move forward?”  Read on. 

Here are some quick tips to help you recover from being ghosted!

1. Follow Up With The Recruiter

Send ONLY one follow up message and move on.  Easier said than done but try your best, there is no point worrying about something you cannot control. The follow up message is a courteous way to understand where the recruiter is in the process and if they decided to go a different route or not.

2. Use It As An Opportunity To Reflect

Yes you may have gotten ghosted but what did you learn from this interview process?  Were you able to enhance your interview skills?  Was there any yellow flags about the opportunity that you are now dismissing?  Usually there are signs that our gut picks on, don’t ignore them!

3. Remember That What Feels Like Rejection Is Often Redirection

If they didn’t want to hire you for that role, you probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that role either. This may be painful to accept now but once you find YOUR job you will realize that this didn’t really matter after all.  So let’s keep it movin’.

Although there isn’t a good reason to be ghosted by a recruiter, it does happen so the least you can do is accept that it could be part of your job search process, and try your best not to personalize it. Best thing to do is continue to send out applications and bear in mind the tips discussed above. When you keep your eye on the prize, anything that doesn’t align will just be a minor bump in the road – keep your head up!




With gratitude 🌹

Jen Rose Narayan, Career + Purpose Coach


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